Tale as old as time
In the summer of 2007, I was planning to audition for Fort Bend's production
of The Sound of Music, when Joe White called me to ask me to audition for
The Music Man at the Country Playhouse. That turned out to be quite an
Some people I'd done Fiddler with at Fort Bend came to the show, and
mentioned that Fort Bend would be doing Beauty and the Beast in the spring.
After listening to the soundtrack, I decided I wanted that to be my next show.
When auditions came around, I started cajoling Joe to come audition. We were
a natural pair for the bickering Lumière and Cogsworth. He finally relented.
Then we didn't hear back. And we didn't hear back. A week of rehearsals went
by, and we didn't know whether we'd been cast at all. It turns out that all of Tarra's
emails offering roles to people had failed to go through. They didn't bounce, they
just disappeared. So she thought she was waiting on replies from everyone, while we
all thought we weren't being offered roles.
Joe and I were Cogsworth and Lumière, but the Beast and Gaston had not
yet been cast, and we were, respectively, the ones who would play those roles if
she couldn't find anyone more suitable. That would have been fun, too, but clearly
not as good a fit. After beating the bushes for a while, Tarra was able to fill
Once we were past that hurdle, things went pretty smoothly, except that I never
got a chance to learn my choreography. Choreography rehearsals focused on the chorus,
which had several big numbers to do. That worried me greatly, because choreography is
like learning a foreign language to me. But eventually Angela and I had our choreography
rehearsal, and it wasn't bad: the only thing I really, really had to do right was the
tango. Everything else was pretty free-form. Which is good, because it all kept
Other trivia: I took the advertising flier Tarra made for the show and made a few
customized versions for myself and others in the cast. That's also where I got the logo
to put on the cast photo favors.
And here's another cute anecdote.
Disclaimer: I probably got some facts wrong.
- Julio Arriola as The Beast
- This was Julio's first acting experience. Talk about being thrown in the deep
end! He's no stranger to performing, as a worship leader at Sugar Creek Baptist
Church, but until now, it's mostly been singing (which he is
Add to that the fact that English is not his mother tongue, and you've got a pretty
high degree of difficulty.
- Amber Ward as Belle
- Amber is a homegrown talent who has been showing it off in New York, lately, in
the off-Broadway musical version of It's A Wonderful Life. She has the total
package: a beautiful voice, great acting, strong dance, beauty and charm. If she has
a weakness, it may be
to read labels.
- Casey Nonmacher as Gaston
- Casey strikes me the way I seem to strike a lot of people: mostly quiet, but tossing
out unexpected one-liners that let you know there's more going on there than you
immediately see. The sort of person people say "I wouldn't have thought you'd
be in theater" about. He also happens to be Tarra's brother.
- Bryan Kaplun as LeFou
- Bryan is a theater student at U of H. He's great with the physical comedy and he
does magic tricks. Since Lumière has no scenes with Gaston and LeFou, most of
my interaction with him was trading puns backstage.
- Angela Marie Harger as Babette
- As Lumière's love interest, I spent a lot of time working with Angela. She shares
my penchant for doing things over and over again to make sure they're right. (Although with
all the last-minute changes, that was hard to do.) She has a strong stage presence and picks
up choreography easily, which I find baffling. She aspires to be in film, although I think
she may have a future as a cartoonist.
- Joe Carl Patrick Spontaneous White as Cogsworth
- Joe has been my friend since Rice, and I credit him with getting me into theater (by
calling me for 2003's Princess Ida). His interest has moved into directing, but I am
glad I was able to talk him into doing this show. We couldn't have asked for a better Cogsworth,
and he's a master of covering mistakes, which saved my bacon when I missed an entrance in the
- Cheryl Baucum as Mrs. Potts
- Cheryl is another trained actress, and it shows. I was impressed with how she transformed
from modern mom into the matronly British teapot.
- Larry Ransberger as Maurice
- Larry played Tevye when we did Fiddler in 2006, so I've seen him play everything
from a befuddled Jewish father with five daughters to a befuddled French father with one
daughter. I can't wait to see how many daughters he has next!
- Audrey Spitz as Chip
- Cutest kid ever. Also rock-solid on her part. Very professional, but also bursting with
- Michelle Juliana as Silly Girl #1
- I was in Pardon My English with Michelle (and Joe), and I just love her. Great singer, great
person to hang out and talk with. It was a nice surprise to see her at auditions. Lumière
doesn't have any scenes with the Silly Girls, but I enjoyed being in a show with Michelle again.
- Becky-Lou Ruiz as The Wardrobe
- The character has a name (Madame something-or-other), but is mostly called the wardrobe.
Becky-Lou played her with a big dose of Jo Anne
Worley, which is fitting, since that's who
did the voice of the Wardrobe in the cartoons. Becky-Lou is a live wire, another really "theatery"
person with a great big voice. And she helpfully brought her two daughters to be in the chorus.
Pictures of the show
Shelly and Roy Home
Beauty and the Beast Index